Former Central Heights catcher and Nacogdoches native Dane Phillips was picked in the second round by the San Diego Padres Tuesday. Phillips was the 70th overall selection. Phillips said the phone call was like a dream finally becoming reality.
Draft day was an emotional time and while Phillips remains focused on his own future, he says it is nice to think about how this will help younger East Texas children who are pursuing their own diamond dreams.
"It just shows them that if you work hard and put your heart into something your dream can come true," said Phillips. "Even though they might go to a small school, or live away from a big city, anything is possible and maybe it will just give the kids more hope."
Spending his first two years of college with Oklahoma State, Phillips then elected to transfer to Arkansas. However, the former Blue Devil was ruled ineligible to play right away so he elected to then transfer to Oklahoma City University of the NAIA. Phillips had an average of .410 with 14 home runs before being drafted. After all that moving around Phillips is happy to know he has a major league home to have a chance to stay at for a long time.
"I can't wait to just get with one team and stick with them and develop into the player the Padres want me to be," said Phillips. "I'm looking forward to this opportunity to play professional baseball, it is what every kid dreams of when he starts playing."
Phillips became the first player selected from the NAIA level in the 2012 draft and also is the first Central Heights player drafted since Trey Haley went to the Indians in 2008. The town has been flooding his inbox with supportive messages.
"It has been awesome because I have gotten who knows how many text messages and phone calls from people around this town and I am just very appreciative of this community," said Phillips. "I definitely want to thank all of them and go out and make everyone proud."
Phillips also said the Padres want him to continue his career as a catcher, but no word yet on when he will leave or what farm system he will begin his professional career.